BY NICO VREELAND
[This feature is a brief summary of interesting books coming out each month. Click the title links to find these books at Goodreads.]
The Devil in Silver, by Victor LaValle (out 8/21)
When Pepper gets committed to an asylum for doing something he can’t remember, he’s immediately visited by a terrifying devil. The other inmates swear the devil is real, and it’s up to Pepper to harness the talents of his fellow inmates to try and stop or even kill the devil. LaValle is a high-ranking literary writer, so I’m sure you’ll hear a lot more about this one as its pub date approaches.
Lionel Asbo, by Martin Amis (out now)
Amis’s latest is a high-risk, possibly-high-reward satire about a kid named Desmond and his eccentric guardian, Lionel Asbo. Asbo, a small-time thug, wins a lottery and goes big-time, and his ward has to go along for the ride. August is a light month this year—I haven’t read any of the authors on this list. So I’m not entirely sure Amis can pull off this premise, but if he does, it sounds like this could be the best book of the lot.
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, by Jonathan Evison (out 8/28)
Benjamin Benjamin takes a course in caregiving after losing his family and his job. He’s assigned to a 19-year-old kid with Duchenne, and as they grow closer, they go on a road trip. This excerpt should give you a feel for what blurbers are calling the “energy” of Evison’s latest.
Winter Journal, by Paul Auster (out 8/7)
Paul Auster’s latest memoir is a rumination on his life and his mother as he lives through his 64th winter. Evidently he also discusses his marriage to Siri Hustvedt.
The Lighthouse, by Alison Moore (out 8/15)
One of the Booker longlist selections as announced last week, The Lighthouse follows a middle-aged man on a contemplative walking holiday in Germany, as he remembers his life. If you like this kind of book, you know who you are.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, by Maria Semple (out 8/14)
The premise sounds meh: a teenager digs through her missing, agoraphobic mother’s letters and emails to try to track her down. I could take it or leave it, but Maria Semple was a writer on Arrested Development, which makes this significantly more interesting.
Splendors and Glooms, by Laura Amy Schlitz (out 8/28)
Newbery-winner Schlitz turns in a preteen novel about orphans, witches, puppets, and criminal pasts, with a mystery at its center. Promising.
What Light Can Do: Essays on Art, Imagination, and the Natural World, by Robert Hass (out 8/14)
Poet Hass writes about books, photography, and a lot more. I’ve never heard of Hass, but early buzz is quite positive.
Simple, by Kathleen George (out 8/21)
I really liked George’s Edgar-nominated novel The Odds, so I think her latest mystery will be a solid bet.
The Orchardist, by Amanda Coplin (out 8/21)
This month’s super-hyped debut novel follows a solitary “orchardist” in the Pacific Northwest in the early-1900s. When two young girls appear—one of them pregnant, and both of them followed close by trouble—the orchardist’s life is changed. Sounds like there’s more meat on this bone than most literary debuts.
The Exceptions, by David Cristofano (out 8/7)
Cristofano’s first novel was nominated for an Edgar award, and it was awful. If you like Twilight, or Fifty Shades of Grey, this might be up your alley, and may god have mercy on your book club. If you like mysteries, or well-written books, stay far far far far away.